Mohammed Uddin was having a bad day, and it was only lunchtime. He was fourth in line at a green-taxi stand in Astoria, Queens, and not happy about it.
But he was not waiting for a green cab to pull up. He was in a line of green cabs waiting for passengers to pick up in the shadow of the Astoria Boulevard subway station.
“I started at 9 o’clock,” said Uddin, a green taxi driver since he left a hotel job on Long Island in 2014. “I made $47 so far. That’s very bad. If Uber hadn’t come in, it wouldn’t be like this.”
Uber and Lyft, the rideshare services that have transformed the way many New Yorkers get around, have plunged the yellow cab industry into an existential crisis. But green cab drivers are no less angry about app-connected rides, saying that Uber and Lyft have torpedoed their fledgling segment of the taxi industry before it even had a chance to establish itself.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a bill into law that capped rideshare vehicles at their current level, around 100,000, making it the first major U.S. city to impose a limit on the booming industry. But drivers like Uddin said the cap was unlikely to create a new window of opportunity for green cabs, in part because rideshare cars outnumber green cabs 30 to 1. City officials estimate the number of green cabs on city streets to be around 3,500.
The city wanted green taxis to be an antidote to a long-standing problem: Yellow cabs rarely pick up people outside Manhattan, except at the airports. But their arrival more or less coincided with the rise of Uber, which, after establishing itself in Manhattan, expanded across the city.
“Uber and Lyft really decimated the green cab sector,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents taxi and rideshare drivers. “There was high expectation among drivers that this would be an opportunity to earn without the same level of pressure that you face in the yellow cab industry.”
Uber counters that it helps green cabs, because many green taxi operators also drive for Uber. But Uber riders say it is often much easier and faster to get an Uber car with a couple of taps on a cellphone than it is to look for a green cab to hail on the street.
Figures from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission underscore how much business for green cabs has declined since rideshare cars arrived. In May, green taxis made 25,693 trips a day across the city, a 55 percent decrease from May 2015, the busiest month on record, which had 57,637 trips. By contrast, Uber says it handled more than 84,000 trips to or from a single neighborhood, East New York, Brooklyn, between July 18 and Aug. 15.
As for whether Uber had hurt the green cabs, Uber spokesman Jason Post said, “I would say Uber has built a better mousetrap.”
Taxi driver dies after setting himself on fire to protest carpool app
A South Korean taxi driver set himself on fire and died Monday to protest a carpooling service proposed by a company that operates the country’s most popular chat app.
The 57-year-old driver doused himself in a flammable liquid and then lit his clothing while sitting in a taxi near parliament, police and the fire department said.
Unionized taxi drivers have held rallies in the capital, Seoul, to protest the carpooling app proposed by Kakao Mobility, which they say threatens their jobs.
Kakao Mobility, the transportation service arm of top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., said Friday it was testing the carpooling app despite opposition from taxi drivers who want the government to refuse permission for the service.
“We are still in the middle of a tug-of-war against the government to stop the carpool service,” said an official at the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association.
A spokeswoman for Kakao Mobility said the company extended its sympathies to the family of the taxi driver.
“We feel sorry and sad and express our condolences,” the spokeswoman said. She declined further comment.
The transport ministry was not immediately available for comment.
NY: Uber, Lyft drivers secure $17.22 minimum wage in new TLC rules
Tens of thousands of drivers with Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services in the city are set to receive a hefty pay raise.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve the Driver Income and Transparency Rules, which guarantee a minimum hourly wage of $17.22 (after expenses) to more than 80,000 drivers who work for larger app-based companies such as Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno. A higher minimum wage also was set for drivers with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
The new rules mean 96 percent of ride-hail drivers in the city will get an additional $10,000 in income per year, according to the TLC.
“New York City is the first city globally to recognize that the tens of thousands of men and women who are responsible for providing increasingly popular rides that begin with the touch of a screen deserve to make a livable wage and protection against companies from unilaterally reducing it,” TLC chair Meera Joshi said following the vote. “Convenience costs, and going forward, that cost will no longer be borne by the driver.”
Drivers will be paid based on a per-minute, per-mile minimum trip formula once the rules go into effect, which is expected to happen by mid-January 2019.
Ride-hail companies will be responsible for ensuring drivers are paid appropriately based on the new rules. The TLC also will be making a wage calculator available on its website so that drivers can determine how much their employer should be paying them.
Uber and Lyft on Tuesday warned that the new rules stifle competition in the industry and would result in higher fares for customers while decreasing availability.
“Uber supports efforts to ensure that full-time drivers in NYC — whether driving with taxi, limo or Uber — are able to make a living wage, without harming outer borough riders who have been ignored by yellow taxis and underserved by mass transit,” Uber’s director of public affairs Jason Post said. “The TLC’s implementation of the City Council’s legislation to increase driver earnings will lead to higher than necessary fare increases for riders while missing an opportunity to deal with congestion in Manhattan’s central business district.”
The TLC also did not consider that some companies issue driver incentives and bonuses to ensure reliability and accessibility in areas outside of Manhattan when it came up with the new wage formula, according to Post.
Describing the rules as a “step backward for New Yorkers,” Lyft took issue with a loophole in the wage calculator that it said allows companies to petition for their own, lower utilization rate within the formula. The company also argued against an “eleventh-hour” rule addition that sets a different minimum pay rate for trips that take drivers outside of the five boroughs.
“Lyft believes all drivers should earn a livable wage and we are committed to helping drivers reach their goals,” a spokesman for Lyft said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the TLC’s proposed pay rules will undermine competition by allowing certain companies to pay drivers lower wages, and disincentive drivers from giving rides to and from areas outside Manhattan.”
While ride-hail companies oppose the regulations, the Independent Drivers Guild, representing over 70,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in the city, lauded the decision.
“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild.
Via also welcomed the new wage rules on Tuesday.
“As the industry leader in driver earnings in New York City, we are looking forward to working with the TLC on implementing this rule,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Joshi, meanwhile, said that she believes New Yorkers would be willing to pay more and wait a little longer if it meant their drivers are being paid a fair wage.
New York City taxi and rideshare drivers to receive a living wage
We’ve talked before about how hard it is for folks driving for Lyft and Uber to break even. Things aren’t so hot for cab drivers, either: as ridesharing becomes more prevalent by the day, those who own their own taxi or drive for someone else are finding it harder to make a living. The drop in revenue going into the pockets of New York City Taxi medallion owners has been so extreme that drivers have been forced to work 100-hour weeks just to stay out of the red. Others, feeling that their lives were ruined by mounting debt, out of desperation committed suicide. Today, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission decided that they’d do something about it.
Today, New York’s City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission approved measures to enact minimum pay requirements for app-based for-hire vehicles (FHV) like Uber, Lyft, and Juno. The new pay structure is set to take effect early in the new year.
The $26.51 per hour gross pay floor (estimated to amount to $17.22 per hour, less expenses) comes after “growing evidence of declining driver pay” was confirmed by a labor study, commissioned by the TLC, which concluded that 85 percent of drivers in NYC were earning less than the local minimum wage of $15 an hour. The new requirements will increase the average driver’s take-home pay by an estimated $9,600 per year.
Advocacy groups like the Independent Driver’s Guild and Amalgamated Transit Union have celebrated the change. “All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America,” Conigliaro, Jr., founder of IDG, wrote in a press statement.
So of course, rideshare companies are throwing a fit.
According to Gizmodo, Uber thinks it’s fantastic that their drivers will finally be able to make a living wage, but insinuated that the extra cash required to ensure that their employees can afford to eat AND pay the rent would come out of the pockets of those using the rideshare service. Lyft? They’re thrilled that folks can afford to maybe set their kids up at a decent daycare while simultaneously paying all of their bills. But they warn that “the TLC’s proposed pay rules will undermine competition by allowing certain companies to pay drivers lower wages, and disincentive drivers from giving rides to and from areas outside Manhattan.”
‘Green Monday’ brings back some great Black Friday deals
Taxi driver dies after setting himself on fire to protest carpool app
New York Red Bulls Announce Protected Player List
Entertainment7 months ago
Entertainment4 months ago
The New York Times best-seller list
Entertainment8 months ago
Transportation Alternatives bike month sponsored by Kiwi Energy
MTA News8 months ago
MTA’s first female head of NYC subway
Uber, lyft and other taxis7 months ago
Lyft driver sexually assaulted passenger – again!
MTA News5 months ago
Access-a-Ride needs access to bus lanes
Entertainment7 months ago
Street closures for the Five Boro Bike Tour
MTA News9 months ago
The winners of МТА Genius Transit Challenge